Elgin Academy [1839- ]
ECA Control Number: 18334
Record Level: Listing
Record Type: Art Museum/Institution
Museum/Institution Name: Elgin Academy
Location(s): 350 Park St, Elgin, IL 60120
“Elgin Academy is an independent, coeducational, college-preparatory school in Elgin, Illinois.
The Academy was established by charter of the Illinois General Assembly in 1839 to provide students with a classical education. The Academy’s original building, Old Main, was constructed in 1855-6, and is on the United States’ National Register of Historic Places. It now serves as a museum of the Elgin Area Historical Society.
The original charter was granted by the Illinois legislature and signed in 1839, only four years after the founding of Elgin. The Academy opened, and has continued, with a non-denominational and coeducational policy. In 1856 the first building, Old Main was completed at a cost of $19,000 and opened for classes, but the first diploma was not awarded until 1872 when Laura Davidson, the granddaughter of James Gifford, Elgin’s founder, earned the honor. Davidson later married Nathaniel Sears and their family became major donors to the Academy. During the American Civil War seven commissioned officers, six non-commissioned officers, and 21 privates served from the Academy. All together, 153 Civil War veterans whose names are inscribed on the base of two authentic Union cannons, were associated with the Academy.
In 1874, 274 students were enrolled and high school degrees were offered in the areas of College Preparatory, Normal, English, Classical, Latin-Scientific, and Business. By 1900 the football team, basketball team, and a school newspaper were established. About this time the Academy became briefly associated with the University of Chicago and then with Northwestern University from 1903-1927 and 1932-1943. the Sears family helped build the academy’s first gymnasium in 1918. A boarding program ran from 1920-1987, with girls allowed to board starting in 1941.
The Sears family helped build the Sears Art Gallery in 1924 and Sears Hall in 1940. The new gymnasium was built in 1958, North Hall was built as a girls dormitory in 1962, and Edwards Hall was built in 1969. Old Main was closed in 1972. Enrollment fell to 85 students in 1973, but has risen to 425 since. In 1984 the program was expanded to K-12, and preschool was added in 1997. The Harold D. Rider Family Media, Science, and Fine Arts Center opened in 2008.”
Citation: “Elgin Academy (Elgin, Illinois).” Wikipedia. Updated January 3, 2017. Accessed February 23, 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elgin_Academy_(Elgin,_Illinois)
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Record Birth Date:
January 22, 2017
February 23, 2017